I’ve been thinking for a while now that I would really like to incorporate a student blog into our website and/or other social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.
I do a lot of digging around what other universities are doing with their website, appointments and social media (be warned!) and have taken inspiration from a few.
The University of Manchester have a lovely ‘blog family‘ (very cute!) but I feel that 8 blogs might be a little unmanageable! Furthermore, I’m not convinced that you necessarily need that many!
A few other universities ‘careers service’ or similar do have blogs, but as yet, I cannot find one that is written just by students. The University of Manchester have a ‘student blogger’ tag but it seems that they blog in addition to the staff and on average, about every 2-3 months. The definite focus are the staff written pieces. Although this has it uses and advantages, I personally think that if you want a piece to engage students and talk to them directly, who better to write it, than another student.
My idea is to have one student (initially) blogging about their time at university, their career, employability, gaining experience, enterprise, basically anything we do here in Student Development. This can serve as a genuine source of ideas and discussion for our students, as well as publicising the support that’s available from us.
It may well be that if this proves popular we could move to having more than one student blogging. We might, on the other hand, find that student like the input of one student that they feel they can ‘get to know.’
So I put the feelers out and approached the Student Communication Team here at UoL and had a response from a student that already blogs and feels passionate about student use of social media. I won’t name him yet; we’re meeting later today to talk about how it might work.
There’s a lot to think about. Do we create a new blog and have this as a permanent presence on our website? If so, it would would need a certain amount of moderation. (I would keep this to a bare minimum otherwise we’re starting to defeat the point.) The advantage would be there’s room to develop this and possibly add numerous other students down the line.
Alternatively, we could have the student carry on with his blog as per usual, and ask him to tag certain posts that might be of interest to students and just feed those ones through Facebook and Twitter. The main downside to this, for me, is that it only gets pushed out through those channels. Although we have around 3,000 students following and liking us, it’s not as far reaching as our website. Also this doesn’t have much scope for development.
So, I’m meeting our potential blogger this afternoon, I’ll let you know how it goes!